Asian Champions Trophy: Dominant India steamroll Bangladesh 9-0 | Hockey - Hindustan Times
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Asian Champions Trophy: Dominant India steamroll Bangladesh 9-0

By, New Delhi
Dec 15, 2021 07:55 PM IST

Dilpreet Singh's hat-trick helps Indian men's hockey team register resounding victory over hosts in Asian Champions Trophy.

A thoroughly dominant display of attacking hockey saw India blank hosts Bangladesh 9-0 in their second match of the Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka on Wednesday. Playing their first game since September 2018 when they lost the fifth-place play-off tie to South Korea at the Asian Games, Bangladesh’s inexperienced side was no match for the rampaging Indians who made rapid and regular inroads in the opposition circle. 

India net 9 goals and swept past the hosts with ease. (Hockey India)
India net 9 goals and swept past the hosts with ease. (Hockey India)

Dilpreet Singh was adjudged Player of the Match after scoring the first hat-trick of the ongoing tournament while Jarmanpreet Singh netted a brace. Lalit Upadhyay, who scored against South Korea on Tuesday, registered his name on the scoresheet again. Comeback-man Akashdeep Singh and drag-flick expert Harmanpreet Singh also sounded the board once each. 

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India scored once in the first quarter, twice in the second, and thrice each in the third and fourth quarters to cap off a completely one-sided encounter. The Manpreet Singh-led side dominated ball possession (67% to Bangladesh’s 33%), made more circle penetrations (25 entries to Bangladesh’s 3) and earned more penalty corners (13 to Bangladesh’s 0). 

India’s relentless pressing meant the ball was, more often than not, in Bangladesh’s half. As early as in the first quarter, with India yet to score, the hosts parked their entire team inside their half to bolster the defence. While that meant more stick work for Indian forwards, it also opened up opportunities for penalty corners (PCs). 

The opening eight minutes saw India earning five PCs, each of which was bravely staved off by Bangladesh defenders. Akashdeep’s trademark Tomahawk (reverse hit) then missed the far post by inches, but India persisted. The hosts’ resistance finally broke in the 12th minute when Dilpreet received a pass from skipper Manpreet in open play and scored on the turn. 

Two more PCs arrived in the next seven minutes, but Bangladesh’s defence stood tall. 

Dilpreet was in action in the second quarter again when, in the 22nd minute, he intercepted a pass from Sumit Walmiki and beat the goalkeeper with a clinical reverse hit. India continued to press, piling on pressure with repeated circle entries and PCs. 

Vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh, who took six PCs in the first quarter to no avail, then came up with a crafty variation in the 28th minute. He directed his drag flick to Upadhyay who was cleverly positioned close to the Bangladesh goal, and the latter’s tap-in took India’s lead to 3-0 at half-time. 

Six more PCs came in the next three quarters, and while India had scored off only one of the first eight, the last five saw them converting four times. Jarmanpreet was on song on two of those occasions. The 25-year-old from Amritsar scored via the ‘backdoor’ — Harmanpreet shaped up to flick but instead gave a back pass to Jarmanpreet — to flummox Bangladesh’s defence. 

Dilpreet completed his hat-trick in the 44th minute through a fierce reverse hit that found the top right corner of the net. 

Bangladesh showed some late enterprise and managed to enter India’s D twice, but the Tokyo bronze medallists warded off the charge with ease. Lacking creativity and positional awareness, the hosts were guilty of conceding possession tamely. 

India, meanwhile, continued their merry run unabated, scoring thrice in three minutes in the last quarter. Akashdeep received a pass inside the D and unfurled his feared reverse strike. Mandeep Mor scored his first international goal from a penalty corner while Harmanpreet finally entered the scoresheet, his scorching drag flick proving too fast for the flailing goalie. 

Bangladesh captain Ashraful Islam credited India after the match. “There’s a lot to learn from this Indian team. They are Olympic bronze medallists and they showed us why. We’ll take the learnings to our next game,” he said. 

India next play traditional rivals Pakistan on December 17.

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